Cats Are Simply Graceful

black cat in front of window

Graceful Giuseppe

Nobody posed Giuseppe like this, he just sat in front of the window, curved his back and turned his head, the light reflected off the casement outside and illuminated him from the side casting a mirror shadow of him on the patterned rug. Who could ask for more?

In part, Giuseppe’s saturated blackness accentuates his graceful posture. This photo was taken with the “little” camera that doesn’t handle contrasts so well; sometimes I focus on one or more of the Big Four or Mimi and my camera gives me a confused stuttering beep that means, “I don’t see anything!” Poor little camera. In this case I’m glad Giuseppe’s silhouette is largely saturated because I like the mix of detail and pattern in the rest of the image.

If I were to paint this (hmmm, where did that come from) whether it be watercolor, gouache or pastel, I might flatten things out even more so the patterns were more obvious. This rug has been around for decades and I have photos of plenty of cats on it; in this case it’s covering the dark green wooden cover I have over my three file cabinets which make a tabletop, but against which I can’t photograph black cats. This rug may show up in several other paintings.

In the meantime, I just get to enjoy Giueseppe, who truly loves lives to be enjoyed.


We Have Sweet Corn

tortie cat chewing on corn husks

It's Sweet Corn Time!

I actually think Cookie is as excited as I am about sweet corn time, though I decidedly eat more of it than she does, even though she likes all parts of it—the husks, a few kernels, the empty cobs after I’ve done my thing.

I’ve had other cats who enjoyed sweet corn too; at one time I had empty corn cobs all on a plate on my kitchen floor all summer long for all the cats who enjoyed it, and I usually husked the corn outside because they’d drag the husks all over the house, leave a trail of annoying corn silk everywhere. Does anyone else’s cat like sweet corn?

black cat eating broccoli

Mewsette enjoys a taste of broccoli

It’s not something we necessarily want in their food, or want them to have too much of, but if it makes Cookie happy, who am I to say? She was actually eating dinner, as you see, and when I took it out of my canvas bag she immediately lifted her nose and followed the scent to where I had put it on the table. I thought I’d just put it where it was most convenient for her and let her have her way for a bit because it would be on the floor before I could catch it.

Mewsette, Cookie’s understudy, came along to see what Cookie was doing, but declined a taste, opting for real cat food for once—this was after she had tasted the broccoli you see in the background, yes, another strange food Mewsette enjoys.

No, I am not trying to turn my cats into vegetarians! Perhaps they see me enjoying it so much and want to give it a try.

tortie cat with corncob

Cookie gnaws the corncob

Cookie chewed on the ends of a few fronds, then I picked those off and put the corn in the refrigerator. Later, yes, she had a few kernels and nibbled on the cob from my plate I’d placed on the floor; that was a misty moment, surprisingly, as I remembered all the cats before who’d shared the corn cob with her—Sophie, Kublai, Fawn, Namir, Sally and occasionally a few others.

So Cookie is still at it, and Mewsette is doing pretty well as an understudy.

Here are other posts featuring Cookie’s Kitchen Escapades including the most recent:
And A Bag of Rotini For a Bed
Cookie Dough in the Salad Bowl
Sweet Dreams, and a…Tomato for Your Pillow
Cookie in the Pasta Bowl
A Cookie in Every Pot
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cheesecake

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About that Petties award—the award amount is now up to $1,000 for category winners! I also just discovered that the Homeless Cat Management Team is in a matching grant collaboration with Animal Care & Welfare: up to $50,000 in donations toward HCMT’s proposed permanent clinic will be matched by AC&W. I had initially mentioned FosterCat, but I would love to turn this $1,000 into $2,000 toward a permanent clinic for HCMT to continue their work in TNR in the Pittsburgh area. I’ll make it up to FosterCat with a special “auction” of artwork later in the summer.

So, if you enjoy the articles, photos and artwork you find on The Creative Cat, please nominate me in the Petties 2011, Dogtime’s Pet Blog Awards. You can nominate for more than one category, but The Creative Cat seems to fit in the Best Designed Blog because there is no life without images, all those photos and artwork and visual ideas I love to share. You could also nominate me for Best Blog Post if there is a particular blog post you find memorable. I would send any award money to Homeless Cat Management Team for all they do in finding foster homes and permanent homes for cats who have no other chance. Here is the information you need for nomination:
Name: The Creative Cat
Nominee URL: https://portraitsofanimals.wordpress.com/
Nominee e-mail: bernadette@bernadette-k.com
Click here to go to Dogtime’s Petties 2011.



Help Turn $1,000 into $2,000 for HCMT With Petties 2011 Pet Blog Awards

About that Petties award—the award amount is now up to $1,000 for category winners! You have until tomorrow, June 29, to vote.

I also just discovered that the Homeless Cat Management Team is in a matching grant collaboration with Animal Care & Welfare: up to $50,000 in donations toward HCMT’s proposed permanent clinic will be matched by AC&W. I had initially mentioned FosterCat as the recipient of any award money I might win, but I would love to turn this $1,000 into $2,000 toward a permanent clinic for HCMT to continue their work in TNR in the Pittsburgh area. I’ll make it up to FosterCat with a special “auction” of artwork later in the summer.

Click here to read about the Homeless Cat Management Team.

So, if you enjoy the articles, photos and artwork you find on The Creative Cat, please nominate me in the Petties 2011, Dogtime’s Pet Blog Awards. You can nominate for more than one category, but The Creative Cat seems to fit in the Best Designed Blog because there is no life without images, all those photos and artwork and visual ideas I love to share. You could also nominate me for Best Blog Post if there is a particular blog post you find memorable. I would send any award money to Homeless Cat Management Team for all they do in finding foster homes and permanent homes for cats who have no other chance. Here is the information you need for nomination:

Name: The Creative Cat

Nominee URL: https://portraitsofanimals.wordpress.com/

Nominee e-mail: bernadette@bernadette-k.com

Click here to go to Dogtime’s Petties 2011.


Arrangement of Four Black Cats

four black cats in dim light

Arrangement of Four Black Cats

I tired them out with my work in my studio at night. This isn’t the same four as when the Basement Cats came to get my soul, but it is Mimi closest to the camera, then Jelly Bean, Mr. Sunshine in profile and Giuseppe sitting up nearest the wall.

They don’t even need to do anything and they are beautiful. All that sleepiness in the warm glow of one my drawing lights, so soft and comforting to me. The errant drawing paper, cardboard, foam core, my mat cutters, no matter, they can make a bed of anything if they are all together. I suspect it’s nice that I’m there too since there is not much chance they’d all be in there if they weren’t supervising me.

They’d better get used to this spot because it’s also to be used for my mini photo studio. Details later.

_________________________________________________________
About that Petties award—the award amount is now up to $1,000 for category winners! I also just discovered that the Homeless Cat Management Team is in a matching grant collaboration with Animal Care & Welfare: up to $50,000 in donations toward HCMT’s proposed permanent clinic will be matched by AC&W. I had initially mentioned FosterCat, but I would love to turn this $1,000 into $2,000 toward a permanent clinic for HCMT to continue their work in TNR in the Pittsburgh area. I’ll make it up to FosterCat with a special “auction” of artwork later in the summer.

So, if you enjoy the articles, photos and artwork you find on The Creative Cat, please nominate me in the Petties 2011, Dogtime’s Pet Blog Awards. You can nominate for more than one category, but The Creative Cat seems to fit in the Best Designed Blog because there is no life without images, all those photos and artwork and visual ideas I love to share. You could also nominate me for Best Blog Post if there is a particular blog post you find memorable. I would send any award money to Homeless Cat Management Team for all they do in finding foster homes and permanent homes for cats who have no other chance. Here is the information you need for nomination:
Name: The Creative Cat
Nominee URL: https://portraitsofanimals.wordpress.com/
Nominee e-mail: bernadette@bernadette-k.com
Click here to go to Dogtime’s Petties 2011.


Curl Up With a Good Book

two cats with books

Kelly and Mimi pass a summer afternoon in the library.

Curling up on one counts just as well. Kelly can absorb the contents while she sleeps. She and Mimi found a happy spot on a long hot summer afternoon, and no one said you had to open them up to read them.

Don’t look too closely at the specks on the mirror—doesn’t everyone have cat snot on their mirrors and windows? And probably a lot of other places where it’s harder to see. Photoshop comes in handy for things like that but I thought I’d be honest. I should clean before I go about photographing my house, but I shoot first and Photoshop later.

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If you enjoy the articles, photos and artwork you find on The Creative Cat, please nominate me in the Petties 2011, Dogtime’s Pet Blog Awards. You can nominate for more than one category, but The Creative Cat seems to fit in the Best Designed Blog because there is no life without images, all those photos and artwork and visual ideas I love to share. You could also nominate me for Best Blog Post if there is a particular blog post you find memorable. I would send any award money to FosterCat for all they do in finding foster homes and permanent homes for cats who have no other chance. Here is the information you need for nomination:
Name: The Creative Cat
Nominee URL: https://portraitsofanimals.wordpress.com/
Nominee e-mail: bernadette@bernadette-k.com
Click here to go to Dogtime’s Petties 2011.


Basement Cats Have Come for My Soul

four black cats

Basement Cats Have Come for My Soul

I always knew the day would come. You can’t live with five black cats and not know there is a reason they’ve chosen you. Don’t they look a little somber? At least their little mom was not involved in the action.

Mimi was there, just on a different table top, and not at all concerned with what her children were doing.

Actually, they’ve come to observe me working, again. They are on the worktable/drafting table in the corner of my newly restored/renovated/cleaned/organized studio, which I have apparently place there with no obstructions for their benefit. In fact, I’ve carried out the entire month-long activity for their amusement and benefit. I’m glad I could be of service to them.

This room was always the “spare cat room” until it just got too crowded, the reason for the newness; in fact, I carried the Big Four and Mimi into this room in a box almost four years ago, and the drafting table where I had their big cage was in the same place it is now. Perhaps they remember it, but I doubt that. I think that’s just my human sentimentality!

I was a disappointed the photo was somewhat blurry, so I adjusted contrast, enhanced colors, ran it through a few fun filters in Photoshop and came up with something that used the soft edges and luridly described the situation. Here’s another take on it, red violet lighting to enhance the weirdness of the situation.

four black cats in purple

Basement Cats in Violet

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If you enjoy the articles, photos and artwork you find on The Creative Cat, please nominate me in the Petties 2011, Dogtime’s Pet Blog Awards. You can nominate for more than one category, but The Creative Cat seems to fit in the Best Designed Blog because there is no life without images, all those photos and artwork and visual ideas I love to share. You could also nominate me for Best Blog Post if there is a particular blog post you find memorable. I would send any award money to FosterCat for all they do in finding foster homes and permanent homes for cats who have no other chance. Here is the information you need for nomination:
Name: The Creative Cat
Nominee URL: https://portraitsofanimals.wordpress.com/
Nominee e-mail: bernadette@bernadette-k.com
Click here to go to Dogtime’s Petties 2011.


A Special Needs Stray Needs a Special Home

orange kitty

Parker, a sweet stray kitty who needs a home!

From the time he was a kitten, Parker has had some neurological problems, really just amounting to a tremor in his head.

Problem is, Parker lives in a managed stray and feral colony, and according to the manager the area is not entirely safe since neighbors have been trapping cats and taking them to be euthanized. While they protect the colony from this, Parker is at special risk.

He was recently neutered and given basic veterinary care where the veterinarian said he may outgrow it, and in fact it seems to be getting better as he gets older. Being a stray they did not pursue the exact cause, but the colony manager doesn’t want to see him outside over winter because of his condition.

Parker is about a year old, is a sweet, friendly little guy who’s had all his vaccinations and will be FeLV tested if someone agrees to adopt him.

If you know of anyone who would be willing to give this little guy a home, please call Denise Charmillo on 412-421-7534.

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If you enjoy the articles, photos and artwork you find on The Creative Cat, please nominate me in the Petties 2011, Dogtime’s Pet Blog Awards. You can nominate for more than one category, but The Creative Cat seems to fit in the Best Designed Blog because there is no life without images, all those photos and artwork and visual ideas I love to share. You could also nominate me for Best Blog Post if there is a particular blog post you find memorable. I would send any award money to FosterCat for all they do in finding foster homes and permanent homes for cats who have no other chance. Here is the information you need for nomination:
Name: The Creative Cat
Nominee URL: https://portraitsofanimals.wordpress.com/
Nominee e-mail: bernadette@bernadette-k.com
Click here to go to Dogtime’s Petties 2011.


And a Bag of Rotini for a Bed

cat sleeping on pasta bag

It's a little small, but it will do.

It’s a little small, a little noisy and maybe not all that comfortable, but Cookie managed to turn an errant bag of rotini pasta into a makeshift bed.

Yes, Cookie has owned the kitchen lately, happily interacting with everything I happen to set down on the table or cabinet. She’s always been curious, though, so it’s not surprising and it’s always amusing to see what she’s decided to do.

In the meantime, here’s a little slideshow of Cookie turning the pasta bag into a bed along with her commentary to me. At one point Kelly comes over to look at her but makes no comment, and Mr. Sunshine sniffs her to make sure she’s okay.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’m sure there will be more, including on of her nestled in my enamel fruit crisp pan, in the meantime, here are other posts featuring Cookie’s Kitchen Escapades including the most recent:
Cookie Dough in the Salad Bowl
Sweet Dreams, and a…Tomato for Your Pillow
Cookie in the Pasta Bowl
A Cookie in Every Pot
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cheesecake

_________________________________________________________
If you enjoy the articles, photos and artwork you find on The Creative Cat, please nominate me in the Petties 2011, Dogtime’s Pet Blog Awards. You can nominate for more than one category, but The Creative Cat seems to fit in the Best Designed Blog because there is no life without images, all those photos and artwork and visual ideas I love to share. You could also nominate me for Best Blog Post if there is a particular blog post you find memorable. I would send any award money to FosterCat for all they do in finding foster homes and permanent homes for cats who have no other chance. Here is the information you need for nomination:
Name: The Creative Cat
Nominee URL: https://portraitsofanimals.wordpress.com/
Nominee e-mail: bernadette@bernadette-k.com
Click here to go to Dogtime’s Petties 2011.


Homeless Cat Management Team Clinic Dates for 2011

bedraggled long-haired orange cat outdoors

Neighborhood Stray

If you are near Pittsburgh and manage a colony of stray and feral cats or are feeding stray or feral cats anywhere outdoors, you need to know about the Homeless Cat Management Team and how they can help you care for your colony, especially with their spay and neuter clinics.

And scroll down to read an exciting opportunity to double a donation toward a permanent clinic for HCMT!

The next clinic date is July 10, so get started today.

If you’re not near Pittsburgh, read on and see if there may be an organization that can help you do the same for strays and ferals near you. I’ve also included links to information about caring for strays and ferals in winter and how you can help stray and feral cats in general.

This is especially important now, in mid-summer, because spring kittens will begin going into their first heat as their mothers also go into heat to produce another litter of kittens. Cats can go into heat as young as four months and can reproduce with parents and siblings.

Register as a colony caretaker, then register for the clinic.

First, you need to register as a colony caretaker in order to be able to have cats spayed and neutered by HCMT. Call 412-321-4060 and leave a message; someone will return your call and complete your registration as a caretaker.

Second, you need to pre-register for the clinic you want to attend, and you will receive a confirming phone call to be included in the clinic. Cats MUST arrive in a standard humane box trap (Havahart, Safe-guard, Tomahawk, Tru-Catch, etc.) for the safety of all involved.

All clinics are held at the Animal Rescue League of Western PA, 6620 Hamilton Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206.

As part of the clinic feral cats will receive:

  • spay/neuter
  • rabies vaccination
  • penicillin shot
  • analgesic
  • treatment for fleas, ticks and ear mites
  • mandatory ear-tipping

About the clinics

Homeless Cat offers both no-charge and Fast Track clinics where feral cats receive all the above care and a mandatory ear-tipping, the universally-recognized sign of a cat who has been “trapped-neutered-released”. The no-charge clinic is just that—neuter, vaccinations and care at no charge for feral cats. They advise that the no-charge clinics fill up quickly, so they also offer the Fast Track clinic which offers the same service for $30, but as you can see below, they have specials.

Clinic Dates

  • July 10 (No Charge)
  • July 31 (Fast Track)
  • August 21 (Fast Track)
  • September 11 (No Charge)
  • October 2 (Fast Track)
  • October 16 (No Charge) sponsored by Fund for Feral Cats for National Feral Cat
  • November 13 (Fast Track)
  • December 4 (Fast Track)

HCMT and Animal Care & Welfare (AC&W) collaborate for new permanent clinic

AC&W will match up to $50,000 for all donations toward the HCMT permanent clinic. WOW! A permanent clinic would allow HCMT to spay and neuter 7,000 cats every year which will save the lives of tens of thousands of cats in the Pittsburgh area. Donations can be sent to HCMT, P.O. Box 100203, Pittsburgh, PA 15233-0203 or through JustGive at the HCMT website www.homelesscat.org. If you donate, include a note on the memo line about “permanent clinic” or “capital campaign”.

Visit their website to read more about the permanent clinic.

gray and white cat nursing two gray kittens outdoors

A Stray Cat with Her Kittens

The issue of feline overpopulation

Cats left in colonies will produce as many kittens as their bodies will allow if left unaltered, leading to disease and suffering and way too many kittens who then go on to produce more kittens.

A cat can have up to five litters in a year, bearing 6 or more kittens per litter over the course of as many as ten years, which adds up to about 300 kittens from one female cat in the course of her lifetime. Being more conservative, say she only has three litters of four kittens per year, that’s still a dozen new kittens, and even with an average 50% survival rate, that’s 60 kittens born over five years. Now add in all the kittens that those surviving kittens produce in addition to their mother, and it’s just out of control.

Ever-expanding colonies are also often the targets of abuse and “extermination”. Shelters are already full of cats who need homes, so rescue is unlikely.

The Homeless Cat Management Team offers a “Trap-Neuter-Return”, or TNR, service for feral cats. A TNR program literally helps people who have “trapped” feral cats with a free or low-cost “neuter”, necessary vaccinations and veterinary care, after which the cat is “returned”.

This process has become an internationally-recognized method of helping to solve these problems by stopping the cycle of kittens and overpopulation. They just can’t produce any more kittens—and they don’t engage in the most annoying feline behaviors, such as spraying, calling for mates, caterwauling and fighting, noisy and odorous activities that often turn people against cats and colonies of strays and ferals.

tabby cat living at abandoned house

Tabby Cat Living at Abandoned House

This service is not available for household pets or even cats simply kept outdoors. This is intended to reduce stray and feral populations in colonies, so before registering for the clinic you must first register as a colony caretaker. For more details on the process of registering yourself as a colony caretaker and registering for a clinic, please visit the Homeless Cat Management Team’s website at www.homelesscat.org. You can also find other clinic dates and information on how you can help feral cats in many other ways.

If you’re not near Pittsburgh and you’d like to find out if there is a TNR organization near you, visit the Feral Cat Organizations listing on the Humane Society of the United States’ website. You can also find information on the Alley Cat Allies’ website under Make Connections. You can find yet more resources on the ASPCA website under TNR and Colony Management.

You don’t need to manage a colony top help feral cats. You can donate to, assist or even start a local TNR program in your area. The HSUS’s article What You Can Do to Help Feral Cats covers finding local organizations, listing options and how to pursue helping or starting a local organization, and they also have a Program Fund that you can donate to in order to assist them in helping local organizations form and operate.

Alley Cat Allies is all about assisting colony managers, and you can also donate to this organization in order to help the larger effort of local organizations.

And Alley Cat Allies has what I think is the most comprehensive information on just what feral cats are and how to care for them, including several articles on winter care, outdoor shelters, feeding and providing water in winter and avoiding hazards from chemicals like road salt and anti-freeze.

In addition to the articles, they also have a Video Library that demonstrates how to trap ferlas, how to care for them, the clinic procedures and even how to speak to the public about feral cats.

You’ll also find information on other topics, such as feeding strays and ferals, letting your cat mix with strays and ferals and legislation around the country and in Canada regarding their treatment.

Here are the quick links to the sites above:

Alley Cat Allies
Alley Cat Rescue
HSUS Feral Cat downloadable handbook 

It’s difficult for we who love cats not to think of each of them as potential companions for us, but true feral cats were never pet cats and while they can be tamed they are a few generations removed from human contact and they’ve adapted to life without the assistance of humans. The TNR program stops the cycle of reproduction and provides them with vaccinations and care that help to protect the larger society of all cats, but the intent is not to provide them with ongoing veterinary care as we do our indoor cats, or to find them permanent homes.

That’s not to say that feral cats can’t come in. I’ve seen some feral cats who’ve been brought in to shelters for various reasons, usually because a colony was threatened by abuse or extermination, and I even rescued a single cat from a feral colony years ago, my little Moses who was near death from starvation, literally laying down and not moving she was so far gone. She was young and learned to live in the house, and she and I enjoyed nineteen years of a close and loving relationship, but I could never pick her up, she was terrified of other people though she was timid and never acted out.

A friend adopted a rescued feral from a shelter where she volunteered, and MacKenzie mingles with the other cats but has her rules, especially the one about not being put in a carrier or she’ll offer to slice open your hand, and other clever cat tricks.

3,000 kittens are born every hour in the United States, many of these to stray and feral cats and the cycle continues. Find out how you can help stop the cycle.

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If you enjoy the articles, photos and artwork you find on The Creative Cat, please nominate me in the Petties 2011, Dogtime’s Pet Blog Awards. You can nominate for more than one category, but The Creative Cat seems to fit in the Best Designed Blog because there is no life without images, all those photos and artwork and visual ideas I love to share. You could also nominate me for Best Blog Post if there is a particular blog post you find memorable. I would send any award money to FosterCat for all they do in finding foster homes and permanent homes for cats who have no other chance. Here is the information you need for nomination:
Name: The Creative Cat
Nominee URL: https://portraitsofanimals.wordpress.com/
Nominee e-mail: bernadette@bernadette-k.com
Click here to go to Dogtime’s Petties 2011.


The Ultimate in Feline Ego

black cat looking in mirror

God, I'm Cute

God, I’m cute!

That’s my Jelly Bean demonstrating his most absolute cutness in the mirror.

Mirror, mirror on the sink

I’m the handsomest kitty, I think!

Perhaps instead he’s practicing his most seductive expression in the mirror.

Jelly Bean is about as cute as cute can be and he knows how to use it. Moreso than any of the other Big Four, Jelly Bean was always the cutest, it’s just part of his nature, and now that he’s maturing he’s also developing those feline-seductive “bedroom eyes”, the squinty, blinky look that makes them impossible to resist.

He loves the bathroom sink, and before I finished my bathroom remodel he spent time each day admiring himself in the little hand mirror. I carry a small digital camera, and sometimes the big one, around the house because I never know when a shot like this will come up. Catching the angle just right, with the light coming in the window—and not seeing either me or construction materials in the mirror—made it a rare opportunity.

I felt the need to share this photo and to do it in a way that others who love black cats could do as well. Read about things you can purchase with Jelly Bean’s image on Portraits of Animals Marketplace.

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If you enjoy the articles, photos and artwork you find on The Creative Cat, please nominate me in the Petties 2011, Dogtime’s Pet Blog Awards. You can nominate for more than one category, but The Creative Cat seems to fit in the Best Designed Blog because there is no life without images, all those photos and artwork and visual ideas I love to share. You could also nominate me for Best Blog Post if there is a particular blog post you find memorable. I would send any award money to FosterCat for all they do in finding foster homes and permanent homes for cats who have no other chance. Here is the information you need for nomination:
Name: The Creative Cat
Nominee URL: https://portraitsofanimals.wordpress.com/
Nominee e-mail: bernadette@bernadette-k.com
Click here to go to Dogtime’s Petties 2011.